Guatemalans Distrust Cops, Believe in Gangster Rehab

September 29, 2006

GUATEMALA CITY – A majority of Guatemalans distrust police and believe that members of youth gangs can be rehabilitated if they are given the opportunity, according to a poll published this week in the daily Prensa Libre.

The survey found 68% of respondents said they think that police are involved in criminal activity, and only 19.8% saying that cops protect the citizenry.

The poll was conducted in February and March among 2,000 Guatemalans by the firm Vox Latina, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Public mistrust “has been earned by the authorities who have been involved in crimes, but we’re trying to press ahead with the process of purging,” said Interior Minister Carlos Vielman.

Nearly 90% of those polled said they believe that young gang members could be rehabilitated, while 74% said they would be willing to voluntarily help these youths.

Guatemala is home to more than 400 gangs comprised of more than 60,000 young people, authorities estimate.

More than 54% of respondents said they disapprove of “social cleansing” – a practice that involves the summary killing of criminals by security forces and which has been denounced by human rights groups. But 43.2% said they approved.

The poll revealed that 36% of Guatemalans consider crime to be the country’s biggest problem.

 

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby
sports
64 views
sports
64 views

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 22, 2018

A three-part look at adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I here to learn how a Central Pacific coach is…

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network
Human rights
82 views
Human rights
82 views

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network

Elizabeth Lang - May 22, 2018

As Costa Rica continues to grapple with the disagreements about marriage equality and gender identity that dominated the second round…

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week
The Alvarado Administration
141 views
The Alvarado Administration
141 views

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week

The Tico Times - May 21, 2018

Newly inaugurated Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado is closing in on two weeks on the job. Here are some of…